Myself and fellow "togger" Peter Morgan decided we would make the most of an unusually dry and partly sunny day this holiday period and headed north to try and catch up with some quality birds to start off the New Year.
First port of call was Nelson Wern which is a stronghold for and can be relied upon for Willow Tit.
As we walked down the path by the playing field we came across a tit flock and immediately picked up a Willow Tit amongst them,we put down some food,set up some nice "mossy branches" and filled our boots as two Willow Tits came in along with Great,Blue,Coal,and Long-tailed Tits with Chaffinches,a Nuthatch,Bullfinch and Blackbird.
One of the birds was sporting some "bling" on it's right leg so I e-mailed a close-up to Wayne for him to pass it on to Dave Beveridge who rings in the area.
I got some good directions from Brecknock County Recorder Andy King and we soon found the trees but unfortunately no Hawfinches although it was nice to bump into Gareth Rees from Sennybridge who was also searching and put a face to a name I've known for some years on the Brecon birding scene.
We then moved on to Mynydd Illtyd in search of the wintering Great Grey Shrike and despite a good search we "dipped" once again,it is a very large area that the bird covers and we could have spent the remainder of the day there and still not found the bird.
We decided to finish our day at Rhaslas Pond just off the A465 above Fochriw where up to four Short-eared Owls have been reliable late in the afternoon.
There was another "togger" present together with Mike Hogan who it was good to catch up with and chat.
The owls were showing as soon as we arrived and had been since 1.15pm according to Mike,they were always a little too distant and I managed only a few "record" shots.